Time to change the reactive maintenance culture in Ghana

Time to change the reactive maintenance culture in Ghana

The Melcom disaster

I read on this medium and saw on television, the disaster at Melcom that claimed precious lives. My heart goes to the families of the fallen and those who survived.

The aftermath of the disaster followed an all too familiar pattern that is very common in Ghana: blame, blame, and blame. Besides, others in all sorts of life coming forward to “preach” at worst, what should have been done or at best what, wasn’t done.

We love to blame and only show our academic and professional prowess when things go wrong.

The Government also has a familiar pattern to disasters, which is, to form commission, commission and commission. These commissions’ reports by the way are sometimes never implemented or even discussed or debated.

We are very reactive when it comes to Asset Maintenance and Facilities Management.

Why fix it if it isn’t broken. So goes the dictum of reactive maintenance.

The cost and consequences of reactive maintenance is very high and can result in death.

Over the years, maintenance management (referring to both operational and facilities) have evolved from reactive to proactive where series of activities are done to detect or predict and prevent failures before they occur.

Systems and processes such as Reliability Centered Maintenance (RCM), Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), Conditional and Predictive Maintenance are being employed to detect, predict and prevent failures.

In recent times, risk based maintenance and reliability management has lead to Maintenance Integrity and Reliability (MI&R) discipline where asset risk, maintenance and reliability is studied and managed.

Reliability is the likelihood that something will function the way it is designed to function within a specified time and condition. We need to design for reliability, maintain for reliability and manage or operate for reliability…..and do so with safety in mind. We need national policies to ensure right design, right maintenance and right operations of public assets.

While other countries are continually improving, we as a nation have decided to only react in situations like Melcom.

Of course learning from incidents such as this is very critical to putting measures to prevent reoccurrence. The question is: do we learn and prevent or blame and ignore?

Ministries and institutions that are supposed to lead strategy and execution of building codes, permits and others are in itself stacked in a quagmire of loose electrical wires and fittings, crack walls, corroded and failed air conditioners, scraped painting, dim lights and others.

Just take a ride across the ministries, AMA offices and police stations.

If there are laws they should be enforced and people held accountable. If not, please enact laws and enforce them to prevent another Melcom.

The author is an Asset Management and Process Reliability Excellence Consultant. [email protected]